Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and BrewDog Plc (BrewDog)
Where: United Kingdom
When: 7 December 2022
Law stated as at: 11 January 2023
A marketing email sent out by BrewDog featured the subject heading “One of your five a day”. There were subsequent fruit-related references throughout the email, with the body heading “FEELING FRUITY” in large font above an image of a BrewDog beer can labelled “HAZY JANE GUAVA”. Further, smaller text underneath stated “Summer is well and truly here. Quench your thirst while soaking up the sun (or rain) with our fruit laden favourites. From Pineapple Punch to our limited edition Hazy Jane Passionfruit, we’ve got all your fruit needs covered!”, promoting fruit-named beers such as “Lost in Guava”, “Pineapple Punch” and “Lost in Lychee and Lime”.
A complainant challenged whether the “One of your five a day” claim was misleading.
The UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) does not allow marketing communications to materially mislead or be likely to do so.
There are well-known UK government guidelines that recommend individuals eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. The ASA acknowledged that the phrase may well be interpreted as a humorous reference to the featured fruit-flavoured beers. However, as long-standing, well-established government advice on health and wellbeing was referenced, the ASA thought that consumers would assume advertisers would only be making such a claim if the product meets the requirements of the advice. Additionally, the claim was considered to be a key part of the ad due to it appearing in the subject heading.
While the ASA acknowledged that many consumers would be aware that some craft beers contain an unusually high amount of fruit, many others would be uncertain as to whether an alcoholic product with fruit content could count as a portion of fruit under the government’s advice. The ASA therefore concluded that consumers would likely interpret the claim to mean that the advertised fruit-named beers would count towards the five daily recommended portions of fruit and vegetables.
The ASA was clear to state that alcoholic drinks do not count towards a person’s recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, concluding that the claim was misleading.
The ASA therefore upheld the complaint .
Why this matters:
Prior warnings have been issued by the ASA to alcohol brands in relation to their use of nutritional and general health claims, as seen in the rulings against Ramsay’s Gin and Brew York. This new ruling therefore serves as a further useful reminder to alcohol brands of the care required when promoting alcoholic products. Brands should particularly remember that there are limited claims that can be made about alcoholic products, and reference to any government health and wellbeing advice should not be made.